Out of all the things we stress about as parents, whether to let our seven-year-olds quit the violin seems like it shouldn’t matter that much. If they wouldn’t have made first chair in the Vienna Symphony anyhow, what difference does it make?

But letting our kids quit— or making them tough it out— gets at the very crux of parenting: pushing our kids enough, but not too much. Directing their young lives, but letting them find their own paths.

In this episode we discuss:

  • the crucial difference between quitting and “non-re-upping”
  • the importance of “dabble-level” activities for little kids
  • finding the “less-intense alternative” for older kids
  • the times that it’s okay to let kids quit
  • the times that you need to push them through. As Dr. Angela Duckworth, the esteemed “grit” researcher, put it: “Don’t let them quit on a hard day.”

Here’s links to some further reading (and some viewing) on the topic, most of which we discuss in this episode:

Nina Sovich for WSJ: When To Let Children Quit

Delia Lloyd for Brain, Child: Should You Let Your Child Quit?

Amy Wilson (!) for New York Family: Finding the Optimal Push

KJ Dell’Antonia for NYT Well Family: Raising a Child with Grit Can Mean Letting Her Quit

Melaina Juntti for Men’s Journal: Six Signs Your Kid Should Quit a Sport

Angela Duckworth: Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals

HBO’s documentary State of Play: Trophy Kids

This episode is sponsored by Blinkist. Read all those non-fiction books you’ve been meaning to get to in 15-minute “Blinks” on your laptop or phone. You can read, listen– or both! What Fresh Hell listeners can try Blinkist for free at bit.ly/WFHblinkist

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